cross the country, hospital and home-careadministrators, health-care professionalsand the government are trying to managethe rising costs of health-care. There are issues aroundproviding optimal care for an aging population whilecontaining the costs. The price of a wound dressingalone is not a reflection of the overall cost effectivenessin treating a wound. All aspects of the delivery of care,including materials and resources, must be considered.Working in acute-care is like navigating throughwhite water. Competing priorities and acuity levels cancloud and minimize some of the basic health-careneeds for patients.The acute-care nurse practitioner (ACNP) role withinan acute-care setting has afforded our hospital the abil-ity to operationalize best practices in wound care, thuscontributing to cost-effective health care.One case illustrates the role of the ACNP within the acute-care centre. It involves Mr. L., a 21-year-oldman with type I diabetes. This patient was admitted to the medical unit with diabetic keto-acidosis. His past medical history included retinopathy, nephropathyand neuropathy. In addition to his end-organ compli-cations, Mr. L. had three traumatic wounds on thepretibial area of his left leg. The largest was approxi-mately 3 cm x 3 cm. Mr. L. was referred to the nursepractitioner for wound care.
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Wound Care CanadaVolume 2,Number 1
32
P U B L I C P O L I C Y
Cost-effectiveWound Care:
How the Advanced PracticeNursing Role Can PositivelyAffect Outcomes in an Acute-care Setting
FIGURE 1
BY
Laura M.Teague
AND
James L.Mahoney
 
When his history was obtained, Mr. L. revealed thathis health-care team had prescribed a local antibioticcream to the affected areas. This treatment had been performed daily for eight months, with nochange in the wound status. He was told by his doctor that because he was diabetic, the woundswould never heal and he would likely lose his leg.His physical assessment revealed three wounds,classified as AI according to Falanga
s chronic woundassessment tool
2
(see Figure 1). The leg was edema-tous; there were pulses present, and no signs of vascular insufficiency. There were no obvious signs of acute infection.After review and correction of metabolic derange-ments, appropriate investigations were organized: aduplex scan and wound cultures. Bacterial balance and edema were identified as major factors influenc-ing delayed wound healing.
1,4,5
In collaboration with the medical team, the patient was prescribednanocrystalline silver dressings to the wounds andexternal modified elastic compression to control the edema in the lower leg.
6
The patient was discharged to community care andwas seen twice in the first week and weekly there-after. At week three, Mr. L. returned to the clinic withclosed wounds (see Figure 2). He was educatedregarding the importance of edema control (for life).Elastic compression stockings were prescribed andfitted in the ambulatory clinic. He was also referred to the Multidisciplinary Diabetes Complications Clinicfor comprehensive diabetes care. Cost-effectiveness is defined as
the cost toachieve the desired outcome.
4
If we compare the two treatment regimens, and if we only consider the
cost
 of the products, thehealth-care system suffers with inappropriate use of scarce resources (see Table 1).
33
Volume 2,Number 1Wound Care Canada
References
1. Browne AC, VearncombeM, Sibbald RG. HighBacterial load in asympto-matic diabetic patients with neurotropic ulcersretards wound healing after application of Dermagraft.
Ostomy/ Wound Management 
.2001;47(10):44-49. 2. Falanga V. Classifications for wound bed preparationand stimulation of chronicwounds.
Wound Repair and Regeneration
.2001;8(5):3347-351. 3. Inlow S, Orsted H, SibbaldRG. Best practices for the prevention, diagnosisand treatment of Diabeticfoot ulcers.
Ostomy/ Wound Management 
.2001;46(11):55-68.4. Ovington, LG. Dressingsand adjunctive therapies:AHCPR guidelines revisited.
Ostomy/Wound  Management 
.1999;45(1A):94S-106S.5.Sibbald RG, Williamson D, Orsted H. Preparing thewound bed: Debridement,bacterial balance and moisture balance.
Ostomy/ Wound Management 
.2000;46(11):14-35.6.Kunimoto B, et al. Bestpractice for the preventionand treatment of venous leg ulcers.
Ostomy/Wound  Management 
. 2001;47(2):34-50.
Laura M. Teague,RN, MN, ACNPWound Care;
and
James L. Mahoney,MD, FRCSC,
are withthe Division of PlasticSurgery, University of Toronto, MobilityProgram, St. Michael
sHospital, Toronto, ON
TABLE 1
Cost Comparison: Previous Management vs. Best Practice
Previous CareCostPresent CareCost
Nursing labour$9,600.00Duplex scan $161.30$40.00 x 240 visitsNursing labour$240.00Fucidic acid cream$ 240.00$40.00 x 6 visitsGauze bandages$ 360.00Multi-layer bandage x 4 $100.00Gloves $ 48.00Nanocrystalline silver 4x4 dressings (x2)$26.00 Dressing trays$6.00Gloves$1.20
Total $10,248.00Total (best practice)$534.50
OutcomeNo healingOutcomeClosed wounds
Difference in cost: $9,713.50
FIGURE 2
of 2